Culture

Best Sellers

Culture

Issue: "Who is Tom Daschle?," Oct. 12, 2002
Scoring system:10 points for first place, 9 for second, down to 1 for tenth, on the lists of the American Booksellers Association (independent, sometimes highbrow stores), The New York Times (4,000 bookstores, plus wholesalers), USA Today (3,000 large-inventory bookstores), and Amazon.com (web purchases).
1
Longitudes & Attitudes
Thomas Friedman 38 Points
CONTENT
A compilation of columns (between Dec. 2000 and July 2002) by New York Times foreign correspondent Thomas Friedman.

GIST
Twice a week from his august position on the Times' opinion page, Friedman writes about international affairs, the Middle East, or whatever he wants. This book includes 9/11 columns, travel notes that didn't make it into print, and his insights into the Muslim world after years of living and reporting from there.

2
Let's Roll!
Lisa Beamer 34 Points
CONTENT
The widow of 9/11 hero Todd Beamer writes about her faith, her husband, and the terrorist attacks.

GIST
Lisa Beamer writes an honest, inspiring book about her life before and after 9/11. What seems to bother her critics (and there are plenty; see the customer book reviews at Amazon.com) is her trust in God even in a time of hard providence. Christians, however, should take comfort in her affirmations of God's goodness even in death's dark valley.

3
Let Freedom Ring
Sean Hannity 29 Points
CONTENT
The conservative radio and TV host explains how the world changed after 9/11, what's at stake in our war against radical Islam, and why the Constitution is worth preserving.

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GIST
Unlike his fellow Fox host O'Reilly, Sean Hannity shows belief in God and disapproval of abortion and homosexuality. He argues that we are engaged in a must-win war of ideas if we hope to maintain the constitutional freedoms that Americans enjoy.

4
A Mind at a Time
Mel Levine 17 Points
CONTENT
A pediatrician and "learning expert" explains the task of learning and promotes methods to help every child learn.

GIST
Children's minds work differently. Some advance well through the multiplicity of tasks children must learn in school; others struggle. But rather than merely labeling the others as "learning disabled" or ADD, Dr. Levine advocates diagnosing particular problems and using specific strategies to overcome them.

5
Stupid White Men
Michael Moore 15 Points
CONTENT
A screed against the evil powers that supposedly run the United States.

GIST
In this view from the loony left (note its placement on the Los Angeles Times list), Bill Clinton is a closet Republican and Molly Ivins a genius. Mr. Moore obviously wrote the book prior to 9/11, so it has the dated feel of an old yearbook. Old jokes about President Bush's intellect and the Florida elections are offered up here as original wit.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Bestseller lists are loaded with books related to 9/11. According to Publishers Weekly about 300 books on the subject have been published in the last year; 25 of those made it to the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Current bestseller Longitudes & Attitudes: Exploring the World after September 11 has 195,000 copies in print. After an initial printing of 800,000 copies, Let's Roll! by Lisa Beamer (Tyndale) now has more than 900,000 copies in print. What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001, in Words, Pictures, and Video (Simon and Schuster) is 4th on The New York Times' list and 5th on Publishers Weeklys' list, with 400,000 copies in print. Other 9/11 books getting big play are The Cell by ABC's John Miller (the last American journalist to see Osama Bin Laden alive), and Breakdown by the Washington Times' Bill Gertz. Both books look at failures in American intelligence that contributed to the catastrophe.

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